It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of our friend and colleague, William W. “Bill” Jacobs, who died on September 12, 2019.
Bill, who was 67 years old, leaves behind his daughters, Samantha Jacobs and Aubrey Wynne, and grandchildren, Lila and Marlon. He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Linda Lou Jacobs.
A native Clevelander, Bill attended high school in Brecksville. He earned his B.A., with high honors, from Michigan State University and his J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
Bill devoted more than 43 years to the practice of law and litigated a wide variety of complex business matters, including antitrust, financial services and land use litigation. Prior to entering private practice, he held several positions with the Federal Trade Commission. In 1994 he joined Kaufman & Cumberland, where he was a partner until 2002, when he joined Thompson Hine along with his friends and partners at Kaufman & Cumberland. Bill was a highly skilled trial lawyer who handled complex commercial disputes for many of the firm’s significant clients.
Bill’s many important contributions as a leader at Thompson Hine include seven years as chair of the Business Litigation practice group, then the firm’s largest. Under his leadership, the Business Litigation group expanded its capabilities, made significant and important lateral additions, and was recognized for its strength and talent. Bill also supported several of the firm’s key programs and initiatives. Under his management, the Business Litigation group was quick to embrace the realignment of client service with emerging client needs.
Bill held multiple leadership positions in legal organizations, including the Federal Bar Association and the American Bar Association. He also was a longtime supporter of Great Lakes Theater and a former president of its board of trustees.
Along with his many accomplishments, those who knew and worked with Bill will best remember him for his strong sense of professionalism and compassion. He accorded respect to everyone he encountered.
Frank DeSantis and Tom Feher, both of whom were Bill’s partners twice (at Kaufman & Cumberland and at Thompson Hine), remembered their longtime friend warmly. “He was fast to flash his wide smile and slow to cast aspersions, whether to young lawyers he was training or opponents in a case. He cared deeply about people and showed it often,” observed Tom Feher. “Bill Jacobs was a gentle man and a gentleman. He was very bright but very humble. While we superficially overuse ‘nice guy’ and ‘nice person,’ Bill was in every respect the very definition of a nice person,” noted Frank DeSantis. “We share our loss and our sorrow with the many, many people who knew and loved him.”